Many Existentialists define existence as being-in-the-world or being-with-others. What do you think is the role of community, in relation to the development of one’s self?
I read a very long article last year about a man in central Maine who, at 19, decided to abandon everything and live in complete solitude in the forest. I think he’s kinda famous now, his name is Christopher Knight, and he was eventually arrested, after surviving for 28 years, for being caught stealing food from a lake house with security cameras or something. Anyway, in the subsequent interview he gave he said something which stuck with me, something like– and I’m paraphrasing– that when you are totally alone, separate completely from others, you realize that the schema that is your personality is entirely performative, and you begin to live– utterly egoless– as a part of the world.
That stuck with me, as even when I’m completely alone, disconnected, destitute, etc, I still continue the social kayfabe by talking to myself at length like a dumbass. If I wasn’t so attached to the material, un-mystical world, I would move to the Maine wilderness as well. That’s like, Heidegger’s wet dream right? I would build a fort and be chill forever. Call it “Chateau Neurotic.”
Is your existence as compared to your nonexistence something which can be justified?
Absolutely not. I feel like, especially through the proliferation of content, people are starting to resemble aggregates of signs rather than actual subjects– and not just typical semiology– like everyone’s little sphere of ideas is taking on such incredible movement with the internet impinging that it makes me dizzy. Like I can’t tell– and maybe it’s just me– my friends’ content online from my friends’ content offline, to me, it’s a continuum, not a difference, and both are larger than the Cartesian vision of the self could ever be. Nonexistence of the flesh, or I guess the end of being-in-the-world, is then a paradox, as the content I have created will still exist in the world after I– as in my body– am long gone, morphing and reacting to stimuli as a typical subject does without my guidance. I guess I’m the functional end of my content’s chain of signification, but that’s only my view of it, and you could certainly argue that me thinking quaintly that I’m the center of my art is violent towards the art itself. What’s that one quote, the kind that gets shared on facebook in inspirational image-macro form– “Everyone dies twice, once when you stop living and again when people stop talking about you” or something like that? That’s kinda it, but it’s kinda not, as that quote implies a difference, and a sort of solipsism that I’m not particularly keen on. Music especially embodies so much mystical, information about the canon from which it emerges that each song really is a space in its own separate existence.
Are you afraid that everything will happen?
There’s no way that everything will happen. Everything is a byproduct of an imperfect language, a kind of crude shorthand. What is actual will happen, I’m positive, but everything as the summation of all that is actual and un-actual is impossible and also ineffable. But yes, I am afraid regardless, or I guess more anxious and unsure than afraid outright. Thinking about this makes me feel very, very hungry.
“I think, therefore I am” or “I am, therefore I think”
Don’t put Descartes before the horse! (I learned that joke from Siri.)
If Donald Trump is an example of increased entropy in the universe, what are other contemporary examples?
Young Thug’s career
Steve Reich’s Clapping Music
Pepe the frog
Every iteration of Smash That MF Like